Advocating For California Employee Rights

Does your employer owe you money?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Wage And Hour

Were you working with an employer who failed to pay you some of your wages? While most employers try to do right by their workers, there are some who will try to cheat employees out of what is due them.

If you know or suspect that you have been shorted on your paychecks, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) can help you recover your money.

There’s a process for recovering lost wages 

The WHD operates and maintains a database of workers who have earned income but never received it. The division can sometimes recover the employees’ lost wages from the companies that employed them.

When they discover back wages are owed to someone, they place a three-year hold on the funds and attempt to locate the unpaid workers. The database is also searchable by those employees who believe they have unpaid wages owed to them.

Act fast, or the funds may be gone

Unfortunately, the WHD is only empowered to retain the funds for three years. If the employees owed the wages fail to claim them or cannot be located within that timeframe, the money is then released to the U.S. Treasury Department.

How to claim your wages

Go online to the Workers Owed Wages (WOW) site and locate your employer in the WHD database. After selecting your company, you will then need to enter your name. If the site confirms you have money owed to you, you can then fill out the application with your current contact information. You will then receive a Back Wage Claim Form that you must also complete and return with supporting documentation to access your funds.

How long does this process take?

You can expect to receive the funds that are owed to you in about six weeks after the completed form and supporting documents are received. If that does not solve the problem of your withheld wages, you may need to explore other options under California employment laws.